When I first went to bottle this year’s Symphony of Decay (pumpkin ale) something looked off with the beer. The pumpkin matter and krausen created a gnarly looking film over the top of the beer. And it smelled yeasty and sour. Needless to say, I thought the batch was infected. I was pretty bullshit for a number reasons. Symphony is one of the more expensive beers I make and I didn’t want to have ~5 gallons of infected crap to pour down the train; I was responsible for giving a presentation on pumpkin beers for my homebrew club and naturally wanted to have a solid brew of my own to show off; and I suggested a pumpkin beer “best of show” for the club and not even having a beer to enter would really suck. On top of that, I really enjoy Symphony. It was the quickest beer to disappear last year and looks to be again this year.
So I finally did bottle Symphony and after two weeks of bottle carbonating I was able to crack open a bottle. As was my friend Joe and my ex-girlfriend. And you know what? It’s excellent. The body is just a bit lighter than I wanted (I mashed in a little cold), but it is fantastic tasting and smelling and even pretty clear considering all the pumpkin matter. More importantly it was a big confidence boost to my brewing, and part of what inspired me to upgrade my set-up. The fact that I was able to repeat my success from a year ago is a nice shot in the arm, and it feels really good. It makes me feel better about my decision to dump a ton of money into new toys and a bunch more time into this hobby.
So yeah, a good beer can go a long way.